Dr James Edwards
Lecturer in Biomedical Sciences - Microbiology (Education)
Peninsula Medical School (Faculty of Health)
Lecturer in Biomedical Science - Microbiology (Education)
Although a laboratory research scientist by training, I have been working in undergraduate education focused roles since 2010, initially as a Teaching Fellow at the University of York and as a lecturer at Peninsula Medical School since 2013. I am the microbiology discipline lead for the BMBS programme and the infection and immunity theme lead for MSc Physician Associate studies. I collaborate with partners in the NHS, across the university and nationally, developing research informed teaching around concepts in microbiology, antibiotics, and antibiotic resistance. I have previously supervised Master's students and have several curriculum enhancing projects underway. Since January 2022, I have been the school lead for Enquiry Based Learning (EBL), our 'version' of Problem Based Learning (PBL).
I teach with a blend of innovate and research informed approaches which you can get a sense from via my Youtube page.
I am enthusiastic science communicator and have previously been invited to speak at local schools and colleges and contribute to our efforts as part of world antibiotic awareness week (WAAW)
Honours and Awards
In 2022, I won a Peninsula Medical School staff excellence award
In 2021, I was nominated for a SSTAR award by a student for ‘Best Personal Tutor’
In 2018, I was awarded Senior Fellow Advance HE (previously Higher Education Academy)
In 2017, I was nominated for a SSTAR award by a student for 'Most Dedicated Dissertation/ Project Supervisor’
In 2015 and 2016, I won a Peninsula Medical School student award for 'the most innovative pre-clinical educator'
In 2015, I was nominated for a SSTAR award by a student for 'Innovative use of teaching methods’
In 2005, I won the 'Young Microbiologist of the Year' (now Sir Howard Dalton) with the Microbiology Society
BSc (Hons) Microbiology (Molecular), University of Surrey
Ph.D, Department of Biology, University of York
PGCAP, University of Plymouth
British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA)
Association for the Study of Medical Education (ASME)
Roles on external bodies
- I currently sit on the Microbiology Society Sustainability committee
- I co-organised the Microbiology Society 'Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education' symposium at the 2019, 2021 and 2022 annual conferences where I also chaired sessions.
- I am a member of the 'Keep antimicrobials working' group as part of BSAC, developing antibiotic and antimicrobial stewardship competencies and resources for medical students
Future Learning Environment Action Group
Member Teaching Development Committee (Advance HE application reviewer)
I have teaching interests in medical microbiology, antibiotics, antibiotic resistance and molecular biology. I deliver lectures, year 1 & 2 life science resource centre sessions (small group teaching) and year 3 and 4 teaching in support of these areas. I co-organise the Microbiology Educators network as part of the Microbiology society. I am a Senior Fellow Advance HE and a Postgraduate certificate in academic practice. I have been nominated for, or have won, several student nominated awards.
- Academic lead for microbiology (Peninsula Medical School)
- Enquiry Based Learning (EBL) lead for BMBS
- Infection and Immunity theme lead MSc Physician Associate studies
- Academic tutor BMBS year 1 & 2
- Pastoral tutor
- EBL facilitator (BMBS year 1)
- SSU provider for year 1 and 2 BMBS
- I also help organise events as part of our Division of Educational Scholarship with Dr Tracey Collett and Dr Helen Watson
Staff serving as external examiners
I am not currently an external examiner. Please get in touch if you think I can help.
All of my research and scholarship is conducted as part of the Division of Educational Scholarship :
Collaborations are welcome, please feel free to get in touch
Microbiology and AMR teaching in HE
I am particularly interested in how microbiology and antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is taught nationally, both in science and healthcare curricula. I am interested in identifying difficult to understand topics within microbiology and tailoring teaching to address these areas. I am currently involved in a UK wide study looking to develop antibiotic and antimicrobial competency guidelines for medical students and learning resources through BSAC.
Student led mentoring
I am interested in student mentoring, particularly with supporting students to become peer-peer or near-peer mentors.
In 2019, I established, and currently lead, our peer mentoring scheme within the medical school which pairs interested 5th year and 1st year students together. I have been awarded a grant to evaluate this scheme and have co-supervised MClinEd students who have led a qualitative evaluation of this scheme.
Study skills support and time usage
I am interested in helping students adapt to university learning and life. As part of this, I have an ongoing project looking to track student time usage in term time to help understand learning behaviours better and the impact of COVID-19 on study habits. This is part of ongoing work to understand how much time medical students have to learn and understand medicine and what can we do to better optimize student support. This project was led by an MClinEd student from 2020-21 with results awaiting publication.
Understanding of basic sciences in medical students
Most medical curricula globally tend to be divided in to a ‘pre-clinical’ phase involving formal teaching in a university setting, followed by a ‘clinical’ phase involving continued learning and application of these ideas in a hospital or general practice environment. Many of the topics introduced at university are labelled ‘basic sciences’, but these might be better thought of as ‘fundamental’ or ‘core’ sciences, essential to the understanding of more advanced ideas in social sciences and many aspects of physiology and pathology which take time to master. Some concepts, such as embryology, may not make sense until clinical experience is acquired, by which time, the opportunity to revisit and learn some of these ideas has been lost.
I have a project running academic year 2021-22 with Dr John Chilton and Dr Helen Watson and led by an MClinEd student looking to better understand the level of knowledge of core sciences in 5th year students.
Current MClinEd Students
Shadman Chowdhury (intercalating BMBS student)
Idrees Zafar (intercalating BMBS student)
Current Doctor of Medicine (MD) students
Mohamed Abdelrahman (3rd supervisor)
Other internal roles
Internally I have acted as an adviser and 'expert commentator' to PhD candidates.
Research degrees awarded to supervised students
'Pre-clinical medical student time use and the predictions of teaching staff' - William Adams, MClinEd, 2021 (co-supervised with Dr Alina Beltechi)
'Evaluation of a remote near-peer mentoring scheme for undergraduate medical students' - Zachary Knee, MClinEd, 2021
Grants & contracts
£3390 ‘A pilot scheme of integrated ‘grand round’ style tutorials to enhance biomedical science knowledge in clinical years medical students.’ With Dr Adele Hill (University of Plymouth) and Prof. Hisham Khalil (Derriford Hospital, Plymouth)
£3000 ‘Evaluation of the year 5 – year 1 mentoring scheme’ from the University of Plymouth Division of Educational Scholarship
Key publications are highlightedJournals
Reports & invited lectures
"Emerging themes in infection (Antibiotic Resistance)" - British Dental Association, Plymouth group, 2018
- Microbiology Society 'Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education' symposium 2019
- Microbiology Society 'Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education' symposium (Friday) 2021 where I chaired a session on Advance HE fellowships
- Microbiology Society 'Teaching Microbiology in Higher Education' symposium (Monday) 2022 where I chaired talks on microbiology outreach
I contribute to our PLymouth ANtimicrobial EngagemenT (PLANET) Initiative which seeks to highlight the issue of antimicrobial and antibiotic resistance